Top 10 Ways Being a Father Prepares You for PR
June 14, 2018
Father’s Day is upon us, and dads across the country will soon be showered with a bevy of gifts we’ve never asked for but will pretend we love: pictures made of macaroni, Garfield ties, burnt toast and a DVD box set of Frasier Season 3. But that’s okay, because children have given dads everywhere the ultimate gift – a crash course in PR.
Despite my mentors, training and valuable experiences over the years, nothing ever prepared me for a life in public relations quite like being a father (shameless pictures embedded throughout). So, before I get a call from the nanny that one of my kids swallowed a Hot Wheel, here’s a list of the Top 10 ways being a father prepares you for PR.
- Early mornings, late nights: When you start working in PR, you’re expected to work some wonky hours, especially with clients and media scattered across the globe. When you’re a father, you’re not expected – you’re demanded – to get up before the sun and stay up longer than Seth Meyers. Babies adjust your body clock to the rigors of PR.
- Faking it: When they send you home with your baby for the first time, you’re put through a number of tests – installing the car seat, learning how to swaddle, knowing how to give a bath. And during every single session, my answer was the same, “Awesome, got it. Totally makes sense.” Such is PR. A potential new client will come knocking and ask if you know anything about your experience in IOT for hamsters or something weird. And kids – just like Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter is Dead – teach you to quickly learn so you can become an expert ASAP.
- 24/7 availability: I remember the good old days of having weekends off. It was nice. I’d sleep in. Lounge around. Have some drinks. Then kids happened. Now I just cram all those things into any available 20-minute window. With a kid, you’re never off the clock. Same with clients, who expect you to answer every call at any hour. Your shift is never over. It’s like the Nights Watch, except the White Walkers pay you a monthly retainer.
- Cleaning up a mess: Everything is going great, everyone is smiling and then, all of a sudden, something stinks. That applies to diapers and client crises, and the look on your kid and the client are the exact same: help. Fatherhood teaches you to stay calm, hold your nose and navigate the mess in front of you, all while making cooing sounds to your baby. And client.
- Anticipating needs: Remember when you thought your kid wanted a bottle, but just kidding, it was all a test because he’s really just sleepy? You’ve got to learn to anticipate what’s actually going on, despite what you think your kid – and client – might want. You’ve got to be four steps ahead, game planning and prepping for every possible outcome. You might think your client wants you to book a NYC media tour, but turns out he may just be gassy.
- Learning new platforms: Just google Nose Frida, aka the snot sucker. It will shake a new parent to the core. There are dozens of these types of new gizmos and hacks you learn as a parent. Stick around in PR long enough and it’s the same, where you’ll be thrown new platforms, dashboards and tools to learn in order to provide the best possible service to your clients. And nothing is more attractive to a potential client than being proficient in the next great snot sucker of PR.
- Someone else gets all the attention: As a parent, when you do everything right, you’re up all night, you sacrifice everything, and each move goes exactly according to plan, everyone will look at your baby and say “how precious and so well behaved.” But you know. Same in PR. Your client’s face is all over the TV and their brand is plastered all over newsstands, leading to their investors and board to praise the client for all the great work to make it happen. Nobody knows what that’s like. Except maybe Celine Dion.
- Juggling: Cooking dinner while on the phone while holding a baby while trying to turn off Alexa is just another day in the life of a father. You learn to juggle. And nobody needs to juggle more than a PR rep. Multiple accounts, a slew of clients, 25 different deliverables and making sure the lunch meeting has a vegan option. You learn to always keep the balls in the air and never let them drop, even if the baby throws up or the vegan option turned out to be chicken.
- Speaking a different language: Every client communicates in different ways. Some are very formal. Some curse every other word. Others don’t talk at all. But you’re expected to speak their language as fluently as they do. Fortunately, parenthood teaches you to understand that slobbery gibberish actually means “carry me, I’m tired of being ignored.” You learn the importance of tone and body language, how to read warning signs and understanding the value of communication. Because Boss Baby was based on a true story.
- The value of the bottle: Nothing soothes a baby and makes everything better more than a bottle. This applies to PR. A bottle of beer. A bottle of vodka. A bottle of wine. They make it all better. Babies are geniuses.